Dart spokesman says accused killer’s stint with company was short

| 7/18/2007

An official at one of several trucking companies on alleged killer Bruce Mendenhall’s work history said Mendenhall’s time contracted with their company was brief.

Mendenhall was arrested and charged last week with criminal homicide in connection with the shooting death of 25-year-old Sara Nicole Hulbert in Nashville. Police said he implicated himself in at least six other slayings.

Before Mendenhall signed a lease contract to be an independent contractor with Dart Transit Co., the company completed reference checks with “several other major motor carriers” he’d worked for, a DAC report and a routine criminal background check, Dart confirmed in a news release. Mendenhall contracted with Dart between Aug. 10, 2005 and Dec. 5, 2005.

“We found nothing remarkable,” the release said. “We are unaware of anything about his performance during his very short time with Dart to suggest anything questionable about his behavior during that time.”

Steve Gundale, a Dart spokesman, declined to discuss information regarding Mendenhall other than what was included in the news release.

Mendenhall’s career as an independent contractor apparently ended prior to his signing on to drive for a Noble, IL, company. Earlier this week, Danny Davis of Quality Oak Products – Mendenhall’s employer at the time of his arrest – said he called Mendenhall’s references at Dart and relied on his insurance company’s background checks before hiring him. All indications were that he was OK to hire.

The Dart news release stated that “if the police investigation extends to the time period of Mr. Mendenhall’s contract with Dart, we will cooperate fully and provide whatever assistance we can. All of us at Dart are appalled by the events under investigation and have the greatest sympathy for the Mendenhall family and the families of his alleged victims. This is a very difficult time for them.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer